London Mayor Vows to Replace Monuments with Statues of LGBTQ+ and Minority Figures

London Mayor Vows to Replace Monuments with Statues of LGBTQ+ and Minority Figures

As monuments in British cities have been vandalised by Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists in the wake of the death of U.S. citizen George Floyd, the London mayor Sadiq Khan said that the city he represents is “one of the most diverse” in the world and therefore has tasked the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm to review the status all landmarks, including statues, memorials, street art, street names, and public murals.

“Our capital’s diversity is our greatest strength, yet our statues, road names and public spaces reflect a bygone era. It is an uncomfortable truth that our nation and city owes a large part of its wealth to its role in the slave trade, and while this is reflected in our public realm, the contribution of many of our communities to life in our capital has been wilfully ignored,” Khan said.

His announcement came after Black Lives Matter radicals tore down a statue of parliamentarian and philanthropist Edward Colston in Bristol over wealth he gained from the slave trade. Over the weekend, activists also defaced the statues of Abraham Lincoln and Sir Winston Churchill in London. Protesters were also witnessed attempting to burn the British flag on the Cenotaph, the nation’s war memorial.

The London mayor said: “The Black Lives Matter protests have rightly brought this to the public’s attention, but it’s important that we take the right steps to work together to bring change and ensure that we can all be proud of our public landscape.”

In an interview on Sky News, Khan added: “What the commission will do is look at diversity in the public realm in relation to… for the lack of black people on statues or the street’s names after, our LGBTQ+ community, women, those who are disabled, and try to have a city that better reflects London and the values we have.”

The mayor’s office is also reportedly considering renaming the Tate art museums and Guy’s Hospital in London, whose founders had ties to the slave trade. Khan noted, however, that the commission will consider whether such a move would serve to “cleanse the reputation” of such institutions.